Ep #75: The Power of Shame

The Power of Shame

The Power of Shame I’m supposed to have it all together. I should not be experiencing this. Do you ever have thoughts like those? Maybe you have feelings of jealousy, rage, resentment, grief, but you shove them down so no one can see them, not even yourself.

Shame is the agent that keeps you spinning and looping. It’s the poison that doesn’t allow you to experience or explore your emotions. We are so ashamed of our negative emotions that we hide them and deny them, but what we’re doing is actually rejecting ourselves.

Listen in today as I talk about the power of shame and what it does when we ignore it. Shame comes up quite a bit in coaching and I notice it when people go quiet. They don’t want to share their negative thoughts or emotions because that requires vulnerability. Today I’m sharing how liberating it is to not run away from your shame but stay and explore it.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What shame is and what happens when we ignore it.
  • The telltale signs of shame. 
  • Why denying our negative personality traits doesn’t get rid of them.
  • Why shame should never be used as a form of discipline.
  • How dropping the shame results in better health and wealth.
  • The 4 instant benefits of allowing shame.

Listen to the Full Episode:


Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to More than Mindset. The only podcast that bridges the gap between spirituality and success. Go beyond the mind with clarity and Confidence Coach Kim Guillory and learn how to integrate your passion, to serve with your skills and experience to create a business you love. Let’s get started.

Hello, hello, and welcome back. Listen here, I wish I had some fun and exciting adventure to tell you about. But there’s just not a whole lot going on. I’m laughing, because I envision in my head that I’m certain places and I kind of forget I really didn’t go there. Isn’t that crazy? Talk about use your imagination, this is the best time ever. My mind is so adventurous, I can basically go and experience anything I want now outside of myself and my environment. I know, it’s a bit scary. And then I laugh and have fun you all, is that crazy? My goodness.

Alright, I have a tough one for you today. We are going to talk about the power of shame. And speaking of, I have no shame about my adventurous mind that goes on these little journeys or experiences or adventures I’ll say. I’m not ashamed of that. But we are going to talk about what shame does do when we ignore it. Super powerful.

So I’ve been discussing this with my clients because I have been noticing that a few of them are not reaching out. What’s happening here? Not seeing much of them at all in our Facebook group or not hearing from in text messages or any kind of contact. And so that always makes me wonder.

So I asked. And this is what I got. “I’m ashamed when things are not going so well and I don’t want to get coaching on it because it’s the same old story. And I feel like I’ve been saying the same thing forever. And I’m embarrassed and I don’t want to say it in front of other people. I’m supposed to have it together. I’m the practitioner, I’m the coach, I’m supposed to know how to do this work. I should not be experiencing this.”

That right there is the painful thought, “I should not be experiencing this.” Bingo. That is denial right there of the human experience, of the crappy days, of the stuff that we don’t want to face, that we don’t want to feel. And shame of even admitting that is actually what’s holding us back. And so it just keeps us spinning longer. Just remember that, shame is the agent that keeps you spinning and looping.

That’s it, shame is the poison. But if you’re willing to experience it, if you’re willing to not run away, if you’re willing to stay and explore it, then the power is yours, you will gain power and control of your own life.

So this is what I noticed, I’m going to give you the telltale signs of what it looks like. And guys, I want to say, this is not just my clients, this is myself I’m talking about, okay. If you are human you experience this, so I’m talking about all of us. We get really quiet and reserved. We start to pull away. We stop showing up. Does that sound familiar? We hide, we don’t want to be seen. We don’t want to be exposed. And so we shut down.

Now, you may have some people who react, because there’s only two things on the action line, it’s always, I think this, I feel this, either I close off or I lash out. That’s it, so it’s pretty simple. Majority of – or in my experience anyway, what I have noticed is when it comes to shame it is a shutting down. It’s not much of a lashing out. So you’ll see children at school misbehave because they’ll bully because they don’t want to be exposed for what’s really going on, so they’ll mask it. So they lash out in order to hide it but ultimately it’s still hiding it. Does that make sense?

So shame is the thing that you hide and we call this the shadow, so shame is the shadow. Your shadow, it’s what’s hiding the negative human emotion, impulses like rage and grief, it’s the things that we don’t want people to see of us, envy and jealousy is like really big.

I had a lot of work to do around that, that I was feeling and I was so ashamed of the envy and jealousy that – I mean I was beside myself, and I just couldn’t get it together. And once I went through – like I’d started doing the work around it, I noticed that it was basically me trying to deny the human experience of feeling resentful, I would say, kind of. Because I was resentful, I was at myself like, “How dare you? Come on, grow up, you should not be feeling envious. You should not be feeling jealous.”

And so it was like I was using that against myself. So I was resenting myself for not wanting to do it. And it was like this spinoff, it was crazy.

Anyway, so the shadow is the dark side of our personality. And it is meant to hide the negative human emotions that we don’t want to experience, that we don’t want anyone to see that. It’s kind of like this, I can’t be vulnerable because if you knew this about me you would not love me, you would judge me, you would not be my friend anymore, you would rat me out. It’s really all about vulnerability. The shadow self represents the part of us that we no longer claim to be our own. So it’s like that’s not me, it’s a denial. It’s a denial of the negative personality traits or human emotions.

And what happens is these unexamined or disowned parts of ourself, parts of our personality stay, and we repress them. So when we deny them in our attempt to protect or self preserve, we’re actually not getting rid of them. So when we talk about feelings buried alive never die, it’s like we hide it and we think it’s not there anymore, consciously we repress them. And they are still a part of our unconscious. And so when you think of the unconscious as everything that we are not conscious of, okay. Does that make sense? I hope that was clear.

So the shadow self represents the parts of us that we no longer claim or don’t want to claim or deny as if it’s not even ours. And sometimes we’ll even do this with our positive qualities. But when we repress them they are still part of our unconscious. And then we kind of fool ourself, and that’s why it’s so hard to detect this. I believe coaching is the best thing for this work. Although it is hard to show up and be coached on it because it requires vulnerability.

So in the More Than Mindset group this week we did a coach call just on this, just explaining the shame, the shadow and how liberating it could be if you’re actually willing to experience it. So we cannot eliminate the shadow, it stays with us, it’s a part of us. It’s like we need the darkness and the light. I talk about this dancing with the shadow, it’s befriending it. It’s like, yes, I see you, I feel you, I am not proud of you.

But I recognize that it is just part of the whole experience. It’s like making peace and surrendering, allowing that. And in those moments you can be sure it’s staring you in the face, it is right behind you, right at your side, it’s wrapped around you. It’s so tough, this stuff is tough.

Debbie Ford was one of my first teachers of shadow work way back in the days. There is a book that she wrote with Deepak and Marianne Williamson, I believe there is three. I think it’s called The Shadow Effect, we can put in the show notes. It’s really good. It’s an older book. Mine has kind of faded because I’ve read it so many times.

So what happens with this unconscious stuff, the repression, the hidden parts inside is we eventually project it onto others. So it looks like getting irritated when someone – like there’s something that you don’t like.

And think about your mother-in-law or your sister-in-law, these people that are just like, “Oh, she aggravates me so bad, and she’s doing that, she always does that.” Whenever you experience that, you can be sure it’s some of your own stuff. She talks about everybody, she’s always gossiping. And very likely it is your own story. Now, you can be aware of it, be in it and experience it and not deny it and yet still see it in others. And then say, “Oh yeah, there’s a part of me that does that too. And that’s actually what’s frustrating me right now.”

So that’s what the work would look like, that’s the awareness. That is the difference between saying, “Yes, she does that all of the time,” and then thinking that you don’t, that’s the problem. So if you’re aware of it and you notice, oh yeah, I project, I call them out on their stuff because it’s actually I don’t want to see my own stuff. Does that make sense? It’s a little bit different.

So anyway, this doesn’t mean that the person isn’t gossiping or doing the thing, it just means that it wouldn’t bother you if you weren’t actually hiding it from yourself. What? Hello. So, interesting. That’s why in this thought work, when we’re talking about your thoughts create your feelings, which compel you to take action, which gives you results.

When you have he, she, they on the thought line, when your thoughts are about someone else, you can always turn it around. And I promise you, it is going to be your own stuff, especially if you’re frustrated, aggravated, annoyed. Just know that it’s something that’s coming up in you. Otherwise you would recognize that, yeah, people just say things and do things, and that’s totally fine. It’s just who they are, it’s just what they’re doing in this moment, it’s just how they’re behaving. It wouldn’t be a big deal and it wouldn’t irk you, because you wouldn’t be feeling it.

Alright. So this process does not happen consciously, we’re not even aware of our own projections. But whenever we are doing this work in coaching, it’s the awareness that is so powerful, because when someone can hold the space for you and not shame you, not why you to death, which is so, oh, it’s so frustrating.

Have you ever had a coach that just, “Why? Well, tell me why? So why do you think that? So why do you do that? So, why?” Oh my God, guys, if you’re a coach, don’t ever do that. There are way better approaches to provide a compassionate safe space that will allow your client to be vulnerable. And when you’re hammering them with why, that’s just bringing up our kid crap of when our parents asked us why we did that. We don’t know why the hell we did. It’s because I’m nine years old and that’s what I did. Oh no, anyway.

Here’s another thing about shame. Shame has been used as a form of control, discipline, manipulation, punishment forever, our whole life time. We think of it as shunning. So in the Amish community if you break the rule, break the law or whatever, you decide you don’t want to be a part of the church anymore or part of the community anymore, you are shunned, you are disconnected, you are put aside, you’re somewhere else. You are separated from, which there is a lot of shame in that shunning. There’s something wrong with me, I can’t be part of the tribe anymore.

Whenever shame is used as a form of control or a form of discipline in the shunning way, it looks like this in relationships.

So you’re upset with your partner and instead of being vulnerable, which would require being uncomfortable, and to being honest and open. And saying, “Listen, what happened yesterday, this is how I felt.” And you would have to expose your shame. So instead of doing that is when we distance, when we pull away, when we ignore, when we get quiet. And we go into this silent treatment which is emotional manipulation. I’m going to show you, I bet you’ll never do this again. And then we show them, we cut them off.

And we provoke this shame, this separation, this shunning, it is so painful, but it’s, they’re habit and behaviors, it’s so hard to break because we aren’t aware, it’s unconscious. And that’s really what I want to talk about today is bringing this to your awareness so that you can be in control. So that you can recognize that the shadow is a part of us, it’s not something wrong with us.

And shame is a human emotion, so is jealousy and envy and rage, in rage and outrage, like these sensations that we were not allowed to feel before and so we’ve denied ourself because we were told it was wrong, and even shamed for that.

So to wrap it all up, the willingness to experience shame or the shadow is what brings the self-awareness. Because once you are willing to go into discomfort and drop the resistance and begin to question it, then it results in better health, even better wealth. Because think of it this way, if you are an entrepreneur and you don’t put yourself out there because you’re afraid you’ll be ashamed if no one responds. So then you’re not going to be able to make money because you’re not making offers.

Better relationships, better connection with yourself and with the divine intelligence, I mean better connection with God in general, and with other people. So the shadow work is definitely something you want to invest in, the willingness to be in the shame, to feel the shame, to explore, to experience, to say yes to it, like, “Yes.”

And four instant benefits of experiencing or allowing shame are, the first one, you’ll have clarity and liberation. Because of the mental and emotional management you won’t have this invasive chemical release in the body that’s making you bat shit crazy. Instead you’ll be really clear, like, “I can see it, I can see where I was projecting. I can see where I was afraid to feel that. I can see where I was afraid to be vulnerable.”

And so you’ll have clarity and liberation, you’ll have mental and emotional management. You’ll be able to see because of the awareness, you’ll be able to see what you’re thinking that is causing the negative emotion. So that’s the first thing.

The second instant benefit of experiencing and allowing shame is you’ll have better relationships, because through that awareness and willingness to be vulnerable you will be able to create intimacy, which is what we want in relationships. When we talk about wanting deep, meaningful relationships, it’s the ability to be intimate. And if you want to be intimate you’ll have to be vulnerable. And that is I’m willing to see my shame, I’m willing to explore my shame and I’m willing to be seen in my shame by someone else.

To expose the parts of myself of feeling unsafe, of not feeling worthy, and being able to admit that and to experience that feeling of shame when you do it.

The third instant benefit is better overall health and healing, the ability to heal, because as long as you have these repressed emotions, they are the root cause of illness and disease. So when you explore, experience, allow shame, befriend it, allow it to be part of your human experience, then your body can heal because your nervous system can relax, because you’re no longer using your energy and power to hide in the shadow, to hide the shame. So that you’re not seen, so it’s not seen.

And the fourth benefit that you will instantly receive when you’re willing to experience and allow shame is this reconnection back to yourself, back to your humanity and your spirituality. So it’s that aspect of integrating all parts of yourself, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. And when you are integrated on all those levels then the byproduct is the better health, wealth, relationships. It’s so powerful.

If nothing else, just start becoming aware of I’m willing to question when I’m being resistant. I’m willing to question when I’m shutting down and backing off, or when I’m not putting myself out there or when I’m willing to have a conversation, a deep, meaningful, intimate, vulnerable conversation. Just notice the feeling that comes up in your body when you even think about it. And a couple of things that you can do is like don’t run, just stay and notice. Maybe describe the sensation that you’re feeling in your body.

Typically, shame feels like heat, it’s this warm flush. So when you think about blushing, that is like the feeling of shame. It could be down your arms and legs, it can be in your chest, in front of your heart and throat, feeling flushed in the face and head, like a lot of the upper body. And that is, I don’t want you to see me, and so it’s like you hide that part of yourself that people see. You could practice breathing, just I’m willing to be in the sensation. I breathe into the sensation. And I trust, I’m willing to stay.

And here’s something that you can say to yourself when you’re in this experience.

So let’s just imagine you’re in school and you’re being confronted by the teacher or you’re being, you know, your teacher’s calling you out for something or calling your name. And you instantly feel this flush, this, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. And you feel this shame, and you feel this heat in the body and you start perspiring and you start getting kind of antsy, and shaking and nervous. And then your frontal cortex just disappears, it freezes, because you go into this fight, flight, freak mode.

In that moment just say to yourself, “I am safe. It is safe to feel. I am safe. It is safe to heal, I am safe. I am safe in this.” And just keep calmly repeating that to yourself, “I am safe. I am safe, even in feeling this I am safe.” So once you are willing to face it and even talk about it, share it, explore it, be seen in it, and then you can become it. Be the person who has these qualities, who possesses these human qualities, we all have them, it’s just you’re choosing if you want to deny it or if you want to embody it.

And you can just get comfortable with statements like, “I am angry. I am jealous. I am beautiful.” I mean there’s even some shame in, “Damn I look good.” There’s even some shame in that. Or, “I did really good today,” or, “I made a lot of money,” or, “I did something grand.” Because there is shame in that, especially in the girl world, there’s a lot of envy, jealousy. They will snuff you, throw you under the bus, girl competition is mean.

I work with so many guys right now, I was thinking this the other day. I was like, my podcast producer is a guy. My YouTube producer is a guy. My personal coach is a guy. And my Facebook dude is a guy. I was like, “Okay, I’m onto this.” It is really challenging to be in the girl world because of shame, because of this exact thing.

Like you can’t be too much or you can’t do too good, because then there’s that kind of shunning thing. And it’s really a closing off and a shame because of the resentment and the jealousy that they don’t want to experience, they are ashamed of having that. But it creates this separation and so it feels like mean girls. So just notice that you’ve just owned some of these qualities in yourself and it’s okay to explore it, to experience it, to allow it. It is safe. It is safe. And as soon as you do that it will just poof, like a puff cloud.

So one of the exercises that I use when we’re experiencing this in coaching is I think about rinsing potatoes. So imagine you peel the potatoes and you’re running them under water or in a bowl, and the water’s kind of cloudy. And then you dump it out and then you put more and so you keep rinsing and rinsing. So think about the inhale being the water. So you’re inhaling the breath into your body. And then kind of gurgling, rinsing. And then the exhale releases the residue. Into the shame, release the residue. Try that five or six times, it’s amazing, it feels really good.

So if you want to explore this further, I welcome you into the More Than Mindset group. We do live coaching on this. We do morning meditations where we explore these emotions. In meditation we talk about it, I start off with a little bit of instruction for five minutes. We go into a 20 minute meditation. And then we end with 15 minutes of discussion where everyone just kind of shares their experience. And we talk a lot about processing emotion and healing this stuff.

So as long as it is hidden and is repressed and is put away and it’s in the shadow and we’re not willing to expose, shine a light on it, open ourself up to it and feel it. Then we will not be able to heal because you have to feel in order to heal. The lack of healing is coming from the lack of experience, not being able to fully own parts of ourself. And so there’s fragmented sections of ourselves. And what we do in this work is we are bringing us back into wholeness, bringing us back into fullness. It’s really a beautiful experience.

And once you have that sense of wholeness, and fulfillment, and safety, that’s the liberation and the freedom. And the ease that I speak about, that’s the end result is you’re no longer trying to find the other pieces and parts of yourself that you’re trying to find things in the world, to feel, you actually connect within one’s own self. And create that sense of wholeness, and so then you really no longer need anyone else, they just become part of the experience.

And that within itself, it’s so self-empowering because you’re not expecting someone else to make you feel a certain way. You have the ability to get that from you and from your divine connection, from your soul essence. We are whole beings, we have everything we need, it’s just the system has separated us and we’ve been conditioned to believe that that was normal. But once you have this experience, like my clients who are in the morning meditation, they were like, “Oh my God, is this what we’ve been missing all this time? It’s so weird. It’s like I have nowhere else to go.”

I’m serious, when the meditation ends at 9 o’clock, they’re all ready to just hang out for the rest of the day because there’s no urgency to go out and fix anything. It’s so different, it’s such a beautiful practice.

So that’s what I have for you this week is really seeing the power of shame, how it’s been used to manipulate, to punish. It’s been used to shut us up, sit us down, be still, I’m going to expose you. And I think we relate to it in that way, so we lose the benefits and the power of exploring it, and allowing it and then getting the end result of the liberation, the fulfillment, the wholeness.

So that’s my thoughts about it is I think our brain knows that it’s been used in a negative way. And so when we experience it in now time, in here time, that’s what our mind goes to, that’s what the unconscious goes to, is like this is a bad thing, this is a terrible thing.

And I’ll give you one example before I close because I really have been thinking a lot about this in the last couple of weeks. I have gotten a lot of new Facebook friends and it happens to be a lot of coaches. And so they’re showing up in my inbox rather frequently, pitching themselves, which I think is rather annoying. And okay, I don’t even want to engage with it because it’s sales, it’s not – I would love to meet them and get to know them, but that’s not what it is.

And so I was like, I wonder what it would look like if I would screenshot and then put that on my Facebook page. This is what I’ve gotten, like 20 in a week, just screenshot it and put it there. Then everyone else who sees it is like, “Oh my God, I got one from her too, I got one from her too. I got one.” And then what would happen, she would experience shame because she’s been exposed. I’m like, “Oh, would that be positive or negative use of shame?” That’s what got me thinking about this. I didn’t do it, by the way.

But I did think of writing a post talking about this exact thing and then using that as an example. But instead I’ll just leave it here, it’s a little bit safer.

Alright my friends, I love you. I hope you come over and meet us in the meditation or in the Facebook group, whichever one, somewhere along the journey introduce yourself and say, “Hey, I’m here because I heard about this in the podcast.” I would love to hear from you and definitely want to know if you are benefitting from this work, if you have positive impact just from trying some of it.

So that’s what I want you to do this week, is don’t run, stay and notice, describe the sensation, give it a number, give it a color. Talk about exactly where it’s at in your body. And then breathe through it and then step into trust by saying, “I am safe, it is safe to feel, I am safe, it is safe to heal.” Alright, until next week.

Thanks for listening to this episode of More than Mindset.

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